Want to move to a city with a great job market?
Landing your dream job can look different depending on the job market you're applying in. For example, it can be much easier to score an interview in a city with plenty of jobs and low competition. But, depending on the average wages and rent costs in the area, you may have to negotiate pay to cover your bills.
With more than 25 years’ experience helping people move, U-Pack® consultants understand how important it is to balance opportunity with livability when moving for a job. Using data from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, we've determined the 11 best places to find jobs that are also great places to live.
How we narrowed down our list
To find cities with great job opportunities that were also livable, we started with U.S. News and World Report's top 25 cities for quality of life. Their in-depth ranking system combines factors like crime rates, quality of education, desirability, and financial statistics. Then we looked at each city's:
- unemployment rate from December 2021 taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
- average hourly wage from November 2021 (since December 2021 data was still reported as a projection) from the BLS report
- median gross rent as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
- percentage of job growth, which was calculated using year-over-year numbers of the total number of employees from the BLS
Every city received a score of 1-25 based on where they fell within each category. For example, the city with the lowest unemployment rate received a score of 25, as did the place with the highest average hourly wage, and so on. Cities could receive a maximum score of 100, and we included the top spots in the list below.
11 of the best places for jobs in the U.S.
When you're ready to start looking at job postings, these eleven places scored high for job opportunities, wages and quality of life.
|City||Average Hourly Earnings||Unemployment Rate||Median Rent||Livability Score||Percentage of Employment Growth||Total Score|
|San Jose, CA||$49.27||3||$2,107||21||4.8||79|
|Ann Arbor, MI||$31.47||3.2||$1,237||25||3.6||76|
|Green Bay, WI||$28.15||1.8||$730||7||3.3||72|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$28.15||1.8||$730||7||3.3||72|
1. Naples, FL
Total score: 95/100
Naples tops the list for employment growth, with over 6.5% growth in total jobs over the last year. When it comes to possibilities here, there's something for everyone! Tourism is one of the area's most significant economic drivers, which leads to jobs in many sectors, from construction to retail and hospitality. Naples is also a hot spot for retirees, so service industries and health care workers have many opportunities. When you're not working, you can enjoy the beaches and world-class fishing that the area is known for.
2. Boulder, CO
Total score: 86 (tied with Madison, WI)
One of Boulder's strong suits is its high livability score, which attracts many people to the area. It's often called the Silicon Valley of Colorado, with many tech companies launching here, making it a hotspot for careers in bioscience, IT and cleantech. It's a national leader in aerospace. According to the Boulder Economic Council, Boulder has over 5,800 aerospace professionals across 44 companies. If you're looking for work in other industries, many sectors are growing, including construction, manufacturing, utilities, education and government. It's not all work and no play, though — residents definitely take advantage of the area's outdoor recreation. There are mountains, rivers, and forests to explore, so there's something for everyone, whether you like biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding or kayaking.
3. Madison, WI
Total score: 86 (tied with Boulder, CO)
Madison has the lowest unemployment rate on the list, which means less competition when applying for a job. Because many graduates of the local colleges, universities and technical schools stay in the area, the city has a skilled workforce. The top sectors cover just about any job you could want: manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, information technology and life sciences. As a college town, it has plenty to offer residents in terms of nightlife, entertainment, sports and a wide variety of cultural experiences.
4. Melbourne, FL
Total score: 79 (tied with San Jose, CA)
Located on Florida's east coast, Melbourne provides plenty of career opportunities that support the growing area. The increasing number of local retirees calls for more health care and service workers, and the rise of Melbourne as a tourist destination creates jobs in hospitality and retail. If you're looking for a more specialized career, the area has the most concentrated high-tech economy in the state, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Here you'll find cutting-edge communications, electronics, aerospace and technology companies — earning it the nickname of the Space Coast.
5. San Jose, CA
Total score: 79 (tied with Melbourne, FL)
While the highest rent on the list is found in San Jose, it has the highest per-hour wages to match. Top-paying businesses are those in information and tech. In fact, companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple are headquartered nearby. If you're not looking for a tech job, management, education, finance and architecture are some of the most common job groups, according to DataUSA. In your free time, you can find just about anything you could want in the Bay Area, from unique dining, water sports, hiking, shopping and more.
6. Fayetteville, AR
Total score: 77
Fayetteville is another college town where grads stick around, and it has had the job growth to match. There are plenty of new positions in many fields, including education, healthcare and logistics. The growing community also calls for plenty of construction and retail workers. And thanks to the university crowd, rent is pretty low here. When you're not working, you can take advantage of world-class entertainment options like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or the incredible hiking and biking found in the Ozark Mountains.
7. Ann Arbor, MI
Total score: 76
Ann Arbor has several draws in the top spot for quality of life, including excellent schools, unique festivals, and a high walkability rating. In terms of employment, many industries are growing: construction, transportation, utilities, education, hospitality and government. You'll also find an impressive number of leading companies in the area, with the University of Michigan, St. Joseph Mercy Health Systems, General Motors, Toyota and IBM all calling "Tree Town" home.
8. Rochester, NY
Total score: 75
Located on Lake Ontario in upstate New York, Rochester has seen over 5% job growth in the past year, with the largest number of jobs added in hospitality, business services, information, transportation and utilities. It's a great place to move to if you want a career in manufacturing, with 1,500 manufacturers located in the region, many of whom operate in precision sectors like fabricated metals, rubber and chemical production. As a mid-size city, it provides residents with anything they could want in a metro area: museums, festivals, year-round outdoor activities (snowshoeing, boating, golf), and art.
9. Green Bay, WI
Total score: 72
According to the local government, in 2022, Green Bay ranked first in the state with new job creation, with growth in just about every industry, including finance, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, communication and construction. With the lowest median rent on the list, Green Bay is an excellent place for those starting in entry-level positions. And with the college-town feel, you'll also find many affordable entertainment and nightlife options as well!
10. Sarasota, FL
Total score: 68
As a top tourism destination on Florida's Gulf Coast, it's no surprise that two popular industries in Sarasota are service and hospitality. But the Suncoast is actively attracting local businesses with several development programs, so it's a great time to move here and join a growing business. Established industries in the area are life science, cleantech and information technology, making it a leader in the state for these sectors. And thanks to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, it's also an excellent place for health care workers. In your time off, you can take advantage of the beach, local museums and the exciting nightlife.
11. Santa Rosa, CA
Total score: 68
Santa Rosa ranks well with higher-than-average hourly wages and high quality of life scores, thanks to a great climate, entertainment options and world-renowned golf courses. You'll find a wide range of career opportunities from healthcare to tourism, along with niche industries like wineries and breweries. And as the county seat, it's a popular spot for government jobs, retail and service industries.
Which place is right for you?
These cities have fantastic employment opportunities, so it really comes down to the things that matter most to you. Read more about each town in our local moving guides, then use this list to figure out where to live based on what your family needs most. When you've narrowed down your search, get a U-Pack moving quote to start planning. We specialize in long-distance moves, so we can take you wherever your job search goes.
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